Film Review: Greta (dir by Neil Jordan)


I always worry a little bit about Chloe Grace Moretz.

Seriously, it seems as if every film in which she appears features her either losing her entire family or getting stalked by some psycho or both.  It’s rare that she ever gets to play someone who is happy with their life.  Even when she was cast against type as a spoiled, vacuous brat in Clouds of Sils Maria, she still came across as being the saddest spoiled, vacuous brat imaginable.  Obviously, Mortez has the dramatic talent necessary to play these type of roles and, out of all the young actresses working today, she seems the most likely to still have an interesting career 30 years from now.  Still, it’s hard not to wish that she could just do a nice, romantic comedy at some point in the future, if just to give her a break from constantly being menaced on screen.

This year’s Chloe Moretz Gets Stalked film was Greta.  In this one, Moretz plays Frances McMullen, a waitress living in New York City.  Frances lives in a nice loft, has a fantastic roommate and best friend named Erica (Maika Monroe), and a strained relationship with her wealthy father (Colm Feore). As is typical of any character played by Chloe Moretz, Frances is still struggling to come to terms with the recent death of her mother.

After Frances finds an expensive handbag on the subway, she returns it to its owner, a piano teacher named Greta Hibeg (Isabelle Huppert).  Greta claims to be French and says that she’s been lonely ever since her daughter left home to study music in France.  Frances needs a substitute mother.  Greta needs a substitute daughter.

Can you tell where this is going?

If you said, “Together, they solve crimes!,” — well, you’re wrong but you’re still my hero.  Instead, what all this leads to is Greta becoming rather obsessed with Frances.  When Frances discovers that Greta has a whole closet full of handbags and that she’s not even French, Frances decides to end their friendship.  However, Greta will not take no for an answer.  Soon, Greta is following both Frances and Erica all around New York City.  Greta even goes to Frances’s place of employment and makes a scene that leads to Frances losing her job.  (Considering the amazingly ugly waitress uniform that Frances was required to wear, I’d say that Greta was doing her a favor.)  Eventually, it all leads to a kidnapping, a drugging, and an unexpected visual gag involving the Eiffel Tower.

About 30 minutes into Greta, there’s a scene in which Isabelle Huppert spits a piece of chewing gum into Chloe Moretz’s hair and it was at that moment that I knew that I was going to absolutely love this film.  I mean, there have been a lot of films made about people being stalked but it takes a certain amount of demented genius to have one of the world’s most acclaimed actresses actually spit a piece of gum into someone’s hair.  Brilliantly, the film follows this up with a scene of Frances and Erica trying to press assault charges against Greta, all because of the gum incident.  The cop is so cynical and unimpressed by their story that you just know that Frances is probably like the hundredth person to get attacked by chewing gum in just that day.

My point here is that there’s absolutely nothing subtle about Greta and we’re all the better for it.  As directed by Neil Jordan, Greta is a thoroughly excessive and deliberately campy little film and definitely not one to be taken too seriously.  Everything, from the lush cinematography to Greta’s sudden rages, is wonderfully over-the-top.  While Moretz wisely underplays her role (because, after all, someone has to keep things at least vaguely grounded in reality), Maika Monroe and especially Isabelle Huppert dive head first into the film’s melodramatic atmosphere.  Huppert, especially, deserves a lot of credit for her ferocious performance as Greta.  Whether she’s cheerfully celebrating a murder by doing an impromptu dance or suddenly screaming in Hungarian, Huppert is never less than entertaining while, at the same time, remaining credible as a very threatening individual.  One of the great joys of Greta is watching this masterful French actress play a Hungarian who is obsessed with Paris.  (It’s also probably not a coincidence that Greta is obsessed with someone named Frances.)

There’s an interesting subtext to the Greta and Frances relationship, one that goes beyond a girl who needs a mother and a woman who needs a daughter.  In many of the scenes where Greta stalks Frances, Huppert plays her as if she’s a spurned lover, crying out, “I love you!” and demanding that Frances return her phone calls.  As for Frances, she’s portrayed as being an almost absurdly repressed single girl who spends all of her personal time with two very different women, the accepting and fun-loving Erica and the predatory and destructive Greta.  (When Erica tells Frances that a guy who is interested in her is throwing a party, Frances says that she already has plans with Greta.)  Watching Greta, it occurred to me that the film was really about Frances coming to terms with her own sexuality, with Greta representing her fears and Erica representing the peace of accepting who you are.  The film may be about Greta stalking Frances but it’s also about Frances struggling to decide whether to give in to her fears or to accept her own identity.

Then again, it’s also totally possible that there’s no intentional subtext at all to this film.  It might just be an entertaining film about Isabelle Huppert stalking Chloe Moretz.  And that’s fine, too!  Either way, it’s a fun movie.

Playing Catch-Up With The Films of 2016: The 5th Wave (dir by J Blakeson)


The 5th Wave, which came out in January of this year (and that really should be all you need to hear), is the epitome of a “Who cares?” type of film.

It’s another YA adaptation, taking place in a dystopian future and featuring way too many characters for its own good.  Aliens have invaded the Earth and they’ve attacked in 4 waves.  There was the 1st wave, which destroyed all of the electricity.  There was the 2nd wave which involved a lot of earthquakes and natural disasters.  I imagine California fell off the mainland during the 2nd wave.  The 3rd wave involved bird flu.  The 3rd wave is important because it killed the mother of our protagonist, teenager Cassie Sullivan (Chloe Grace Moretz).  You can’t be a YA protagonist unless you have at least one dead parents.  That’s the rules of the genre.

The 5th Wave deals with the … well, the fifth wave.  As far as I can tell, the 5th Wave involves turning every human left into a stock character from a YA dystopian novel.  Basically, if you’ve sat through Divergent or The Maze Runner or The Giver or countless other YA adaptations, you already know who everyone is in The 5th Wave.  Cassie is our heroine, which means that she spends a lot of time wandering around in the forest, killing potential threats, and thinking about how different things were back in high school.

And that’s really all she does.

See, The 5th Wave last nearly two hours and not a damn thing happens in the entire film.  That’s because the 5th Wave is all about setting up a sequel.  We meet a lot of characters.  We get a lot of backstory.  Imagine if The Walking Dead did a half-season with 6 shows straight of people talking about doing things but never actually doing any of it. (Oh, wait, they did just do that…)  That’s pretty much what sitting through The 5th Wave was like.  We learn that there are aliens disguised as humans.  We learns that what’s left of the government cannot be trusted and I was totally happy with that plot development because seriously, the government sucks.  As we watch Moretz, Ron Livington, Liev Schriber, and Maria Bello struggle to make some of the most cliched dialogue ever sound compelling, we learn that being a talented actor doesn’t mean that you always get to appear in interesting films.

Things drag on and then they end.  Why do they end?  Because that’s the way YA adaptations works.  Nothing can be resolved in just one movie.  Instead, everything’s about setting things up for the next installment.  At the very least, all YA films have to be a part of a trilogy.  And the third part of the trilogy always requires at least two parts to tell the entire story.  That’s just the way things works.

And really, I thought that Divergent was the most soulless YA adaptation that I had ever seen.  But the 5th Wave makes a strong case that perhaps it deserves the title.

I guess we could wait to see what happens when part two comes out but seriously, who cares?

A Quickie With Lisa Marie: Independence Day: Resurgence (dir by Roland Emmerich)


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Oh, who cares?

Sorry, I know that’s like an ultra unprofessional way to open a review but Independence Day: Resurgence is one of the least inspiring films that I’ve ever seen.  Jeff and I saw it the day that it opened and, at the time, I was planning on reviewing it the next day.  But when I sat down to actually write about the movie … well, I discovered that I could hardly care less.  This is one of those films that I could have easily waited until December to review.  However, seeing as today is Independence Day, this seemed to be the right time to say something about it.

Memorable movies inspire.  Good movies inspire love.  Bad movies inspire hate.  A movie like Independence Day: Resurgence inspires apathy.

Actually, what’s really frustrating about Independence Day: Resurgence is that it starts out with such promise.  The first few scenes suggest that maybe the film is trying to be something more than just another “let’s blow shit up while stars get quippy” action film.  Independence Day: Resurgence imagines an alternative history for post-alien invasion Earth and it’s actually pretty clever.  Earthlings have taken advantage of the alien technology but society has also become heavily militaristic.  The main characters of the first film are all revered as heroes but, when we first meet former President Whitmore (Bill Pullman, with a wise old man beard), he’s having nightmares about the invasion.

And seriously, for the first 30 minutes or so, I really thought that Independence Day: Resurgence might turn out to be surprisingly clever, that maybe it would satirize the excesses of the original while subtly critiquing everything that’s fucked up about our real world.

Well, that was a mistake on my part.  There is no satire.  There is no critique.  Instead, it’s just another alien invasion film and it’s all terribly predictable.  It may be a sequel to the first Independence Day but it feels more like a rip-off of Battle: Los Angeles.  Considering what the film could have been, it’s impossible not to be disappointed by how familiar and uninspired it all is.

What I failed to take into account is that this film was directed by Roland Emmerich.  Emmerich is a director who is best distinguished by his total lack of self-awareness.  After all, this is the director who, in Anonymous, seriously suggested that William Shakespeare personally murdered Christopher Marlowe.  Watching Independence Day: Resurgence and listening to the generic dialogue and witnessing the generic mayhem, I started to get the sinking feeling that the film was a joke and that  Emmerich was the only person on the planet who was not in on it.  He doesn’t realize how predictable his movies are or that his characters are cardboard cut-outs or that the film’s inspiring moments are so overdone that they instead become groan-inducing.  One of the stars of the first film sacrifices himself in Resurgence and you know who it’s going to be from the minute he shows up onscreen.  Emmerich is not a good enough director to make his sacrifice touching.  The fact that the film ends with the promise of a sequel is not surprising and yet, it still somehow manages to be annoyingly presumptive.  The film’s ending seems to be taunting us.  “Of course, you’re going to want to sit through this shit for a third time…what other choice do you have?”

In the film’s defense, the cast is big and it includes a lot of good actors.  Unfortunately, the characters are so undeveloped that you again find yourself regretting what a waste it all is.  Jeff Goldblum and Judd Hirsch are both likable but Bill Pullman seems to be incredibly bored with the whole thing.  Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, and Maika Monroe are all stuck playing typical Emmerich ciphers.

I should mention that, despite how negative this review may sound, I did not hate Independence Day: Resurgence, at least not in the way that I’ve hated other films, like Anonymous or the remake of Straw Dogs.  My problem with Resurgence isn’t that I hated it or even that I disliked it.  It’s that I didn’t feel much about it, one way or the other.  It’s one of those film that is best described as “just kinda being there.”  Apathy is the worst thing that a film can inspire.

Perhaps the best thing about Independence Day: Resurgence is that Roland Emmerich has protected the holiday from being co-opted by Garry Marshall.

Here’s the Trailer for Robotec…I mean Independence Day: Resurgence


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For decades fans of Robotech (Macross everywhere else in the world) have been hoping for a live-action film adaptation of this very iconic anime series from Japan. Many Westerners had their first introduction to anime after watching the localized version of the original Japanese series Macross. There have been some traction to get the live-action film up and running but rarely past pre-production stage.

With special effects advancing to the point that we can almost recreate dead people back to life via digital trickery, entire worlds astronomers could only dream of and fantastical lands and creatures it’s high time we got a live-action Robotech film. We fans deserve such a gift.

For now, let’s settle for Independence Day: Resurgence which seems to lift certain elements from the anime series spoken of above to make up the plot of the sequel to 1996’s blockbuster hit, Independence Day.

Independence Day: Resurgence is set for a June 24, 2016 release date.

The Horror of 2015: It Follows and Unfriended


2015 is shaping up to be a pretty good year for horror.  Here are my reviews of two recent horror films that have recently been getting a lot of attention, It Follows and Unfriended.

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Is It Follows really as good as everyone is saying?

That’s actually a very legitimate question.  It Follows is one of the most critically acclaimed horror films in recent years.  It’s been described as being a “game changer” and as being one of the best films of 2015 so far. But, as we all know, just because a film has been acclaimed by mainstream critics that does not necessarily make it a great film.  The mainstream is just as often wrong as its right.

So, is It Follows really that good?

It is certainly an effective film.  It’s well-made.  It’s well-acted.  Director David Robert Mitchell makes us jump a few times.  The film takes the horror cliché of “sex equals death” to its logical extreme and, as a result, it makes you think about the subtext of many of your favorite horror films.

The film deals with a college student named Jay (Maika Monroe) who has sex with her boyfriend and soon discovers that, by doing so, her boyfriend has passed on a “curse” to her.  She finds herself being stalked by a slow-moving but unstoppable entity, one that only she can see.  The only way to get rid of the entity is to have sex with someone else.

It’s never explained just what or who the entity is or why it’s so intent on killing.  And, for that, It Followsdeserves to be applauded.  Far too many horror films get bogged down in trying to explain the origin of its horror.  It Follows understand just how potent the fear of the unknown truly is and, ultimately, the sight of that shape-shifting entity – always there and always following – is scary precisely because it is so enigmatic.

At the same time, I think it’s telling that It Follows has received some of its strongest support from critics who traditionally do not care for horror films.  In fact, many of the positive reviews for It Follows have been somewhat condescending towards horror as a genre.  “Finally!” the critics seem to be saying, “An intelligent horror film!”

Of course, a true horror fan knows that intelligent horror films are not that unusual.  They also know that It Follows is hardly the first horror film to work as a metatextual commentary on the horror genre itself.  Many of the critics who are currently declaring It Follows to be the greatest horror film ever made are doing so because they don’t understand that the horror genre has been giving us great films for a while now.

It Follows is an effective and scary film, even if it is a bit too self-consciously arty at times.  It made me jump, it made me cover my eyes, and it even made me scream at one point and that – though the mainstream critics may never admit it – is really all that’s required from a good horror film.  To all of my fellow horror fans, I recommend It Follows without hesitation.  But let’s not pretend like It Follows is the first good horror film ever made, okay?

(Incidentally, an indication of the popularity of It Follows can be seen in the fact that this is the fourth review of the film to appear on this site!  Be sure to check out Leonard’s review, the Duke’s review, and the Trashfilm Guru’s review.)

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Unfriended is the best horror film of 2015 so far.

That may seem like a bold statement, considering that Unfriended – while receiving generally positive reviews – has not gotten half of the attention or acclaim that’s been given to It Follows.  As well,Unfriended is a variation on the found footage genre and, as we all know, found footage usually equals bad filmmaking.

But no matter!  Unfriended defies all our expectations.  Considering that Unfriended is basically an 83-minute screencast of a laptop, it should not be scary but it is.  Unfriended should not make you think about real-world issues but it does.  Unfriended should not work but it does.

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Unfriended opens with teenager Blaire Lilly (Shelly Henning) watching an online video of another teenage girl, Laura (Heather Sossaman), killing herself.  Blaire then clicks on a link that takes her to a YouTube video of a drunk Laura at a party.  Underneath the video are thousands comments from people telling Laura that she should kill herself.

However, Laura and her suicide are temporarily forgotten while Blaire skypes with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm).  After a few minutes, Blaire and Mitch are joined by three friends: Jess (Renee Olstead), unstable Adam (Will Peltz), and Ken (Jacob Wyscoski).  It takes the five of them a few minutes to notice that they’ve been joined by a faceless account named billie227.

At first billie227 refuses to identity itself but soon, Blaire and Mitch start to receive Facebook messages from the long dead Laura.  Blaire checks billie227’s account and discovers that it belongs to Laura.  At first, Blaire suspects that another one of their friends, Val (Courtney Halverson), may have hacked Laura’s account.  But, after calling Val, they discover that she’s not responsible.

Suddenly, embarrassing pictures start to appear on their Facebook accounts.  Billie227 starts to send them threatening messages and tells Blaire that if she signs off of skype, all of her friends will die. The six friends – all of whom, it turns out, knew Laura – find themselves held hostage by the malevolent spirit and, over the course of the long night, are picked off one by one.

Sad to say, cyberbullying is a reality.  Tragically, people really have committed suicide over things that have been said by bullies hiding behind anonymous online identities.  In the past few years, there have been many films made about the dangers of cyberbullying but Unfriended may be the most effective.  It’s a film that takes the reality of words having consequences to its most logical and grisly extreme.

Unfriended is a genuinely frightening movie, precisely because it is so relatable.  Let’s face it – if an evil spirit ever decided to stalk us through social media, we would all be doomed.  Like the characters in the film, we’re addicted and, as a result, there’s no place to hide.  If an evil ghost wanted to know everything about my life, all it would have to do would be to follow me on twitter or send me a friend request on Facebook.  The film is scary precisely because it brings our age-old fears together with modern technology and it suggests that, no matter how advanced we may consider ourselves to be, we’re still just as vulnerable to all of the old superstitions.

As a result, Unfriended is not only the best horror film of 2015 so far but it’s also one of the best films of the first half of the year.

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“It Follows” That I Should Have Liked This Movie, But —


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A funny thing happened on the way to writer/director David Robert Mitchell’s 2014-lensed indie horror It Follows finding its way into the VOD dump-off land most contemporary scare flicks have reluctantly learned to call home : it got noticed. In fact, it got noticed a lot, and evidently by at least some of the right people, because on the basis of positive “buzz” alone, the aforementioned relegation to so-called “home viewing platforms” was quickly scuttled in favor of a limited theatrical release — which just as quickly became a wide theatrical release — which finally ended with this being one of the most-talked- about “supernatural thrillers” in years.

What I can’t figure out is, I’m sorry to say, is why.

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Don’t get me wrong — It Follows certainly isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m naturally disposed towards rooting for any sort of original horror film that tries to navigate its way through the contemporary morass of remakes and might-as-well-be-remakes because they’re based on concepts that were played out three or four decades ago, but by the time I got around to seeing this flick yesterday, the hype surrounding it was so all-consuming that my expectations were sky high. Maybe it’s not fair to expect any movie to live up to all that, much less a modest production out of Detroit like this one, but I like to think that I’m honest enough with myself (and, hopefully, with the rest of you) to recognize that my belief that this is just a more-stylishly-done-than-usual presentation of a rather poorly-thought-through, and in many cases bog-standard, story would be unchanged even without the profound sense of “well, that was a bit of a letdown” I left the theater with. I’m not holding Mitchell’s rave reviews against him by any stretch, nor is it fair to judge his work against a yardstick fashioned from others’ praise, but hey — I’m only human, and when I come out of a movie that most everyone else has gushed one superlative after another about feeling decidedly unimpressed, I’ve gotta wonder where the disconnect comes from. Am I really that hard to please, or is everyone else just that wrong?

I mentioned my feelings about the film in a horror and exploitation group I belong to on facebook, and a friend on there made an interesting observation — most of the more glowing reviews for It Follows have come from “establishment” critics (as in, those who routinely guffaw at the horror genre in general, when they even bother to pay attention to it at all), while hard-core “horror hounds” have been decidedly less enthusiastic. A quick bit of research on my part found this to be pretty true — sure, most of the “big” horror sites and publications have been effusive in their praise, but by and large the die-hards out there have been a lot more cool towards it.

My theory is pretty simple — they (as in, your major newspaper and magazine critics) haven’t seen this done a hundred times before, while we (as in, Mr. and Ms. horror aficionado) have. And therein lies the entire difference in perception.

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To be sure, Michell has concocted a very stylish little number here — the cinematography and shot composition, the performances, and particularly the sound design are all top-notch. If you don’t watch a lot of horror flicks and are inclined to write the ones you haven’t seen off completely, you could be forgiven for being surprised that some of them are this well done. But when you do watch a lot of horror, and you see vastly superior fare like Starry Eyes garnering far less attention, well — you’re bound to wonder what all the fuss is about in this case.

Likewise, the central premise involving a young woman named Jay Height (played my Maika Monroe, who does a fantastic job) contracting the attention of some sort of malevolent entity after a casual sexual encounter “transmits” it to her might feel reasonably original to somebody who doesn’t “speak fluent horror,” but if you do, you’ll recognize it as a slapdash combination of Shivers-era Cronenbergian body horror and dime-a-dozen, regulation-issue “possession movie” tropes. Furthermore, the idea that sexual “promiscuity” (as in, being female and actually enjoying sex) equals death is the oldest card in the “slasher” movie hand, Mitchell just has the nerve to obfuscate it under a thick enough  layer of pretense that you can be swindled into believing he’s “deconstructing” the whole notion rather than reinforcing it. Trust me when I say he’s clearly doing the latter.

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Another thing that bugged the shit out of me about It Follows is how flat-out pleased with its own supposed “cleverness” it is. Jay and her sister, Kelly (Lili Sepe) live in a house that’s pure 1970s throwback, and most of their friends drive cars that date to that era, but one member of their slacker clique has a flip-open plastic toy seashell that doubles as a Kindle-type device, while their mom has a fancy-ass modern refrigerator to go along with her Curtis Mathes console TVs and outdated brown shag carpeting. The streets and driveways of their suburban neighborhood seem to be populated with decidedly modern cars and SUVs and mini-vans, as well. This dichotomy of past and future might feel right at home in, say, a David Lynch film, or some other equally-channeled-from-the-subconscious story, but in a narrative as by-the-numbers as this one, it just feels like weirdness for its own sake, and a rather naked plea for attention that the filmmakers don’t trust you enough to get on the first pass, so they keep hammering the point home. Think of the scene in the thoroughly risible Juno where she takes a call in her bedroom on one of those old plastic hamburger-shaped phones and, afraid that you’ll miss how cool and “shabby-chic” the whole thing is, they actually have her say into the receiver “sorry, I can’t hear you so well — I’m talking to you on my hamburger phone,” and you”ll get what I’m driving at here.

The final major flaw in Mitchell’s little opus I feel the need to call attention to  is the fact  that he apparently hasn’t taken the time to think through how the whole “STD possession” thing works. The guy who gave Jay the “curse” admits he’s still being pursued by the ultra-slow-motion killer(s) after even after playing hide the salami with her, and in due course Jay herself can’t seem to shake it either after screwing some loser friend of hers in the hospital — even after it kills him. She finally seems to manage to lose her pursuers-from-beyond-the-grave when — spoiler alert! — she has sex with her long-suffering male friend/lap dog Paul (Keir Gilchrist, the second of the film’s pitch-perfect leads), but if this is supposed to be some heavy-handed metaphor for the idea that it’s true love that finally sends the spirits packing, I have to say it falls pretty flat, because when Jay finally relents to allowing Paul’s dream of getting his schlong inside her to come true, it feels more like a combination of pity fuck and resignation to pass it on to him just because she’s tired of being — you know — followed. Yeah, sure, he’s clearly over the moon about her, but she seems to have just finally “settled” for a guy who was convenient and cared about her. Talk about playing into the old “you can’t have everything you want, ladies” and “don’t aim for higher than your station in life” pieces of received “wisdom.”

The big denoument here comes when Paul concocts a totally lame-brained scheme to kill the “stalker force” in a public swimming pool — a plan that has disaster written all over it from the outset (disaster that’s only averted due to the fact that every single one  of the literally dozens of electrical appliances they toss into the drink doesn’t start shooting sparks; go figure that one out), but I’ll gave that a pass because stupid teenagers do a lot of stupid shit. I find it rather useful to mention,  though,  simply because it’s such a handy representation in microcosm for why the movie itself doesn’t work, much less live up to all those hyper-congratulatory blurbs we’ve been reading : it all sounds good on paper for about a minute, but ultimately can’t stand up to any sort of even semi-rigorous examination.

 

Quick Review: It Follows (Dir. by David Robert Mitchell)


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*** Wait! Before starting this, leonth3duke has a wonderful review of It Follows. Read that and then double back here, if you want. . 🙂 ***

I had a jump scare happen to me two hours after seeing David Robert Mitchell’s “It Follows”. As I was relaying the story to my cousin, I heard a loud crash behind me. This caused me to whirl around and jump backwards. Of course, it was just a pair of cats chasing each other around the house, but I guess the movie kind of escalated things for me, mentally. My cousin laughed and said “Okay, this sounds like it’s worth seeing.” It feels good to carry a film around you like that.

It Follows is a subtle horror movie that reminds me of so many other ones – Halloween, Night of the Creeps, Ginger Snaps, The Thing, Under the Skin, The Cabin the Woods, The Babadook, Attack the Block, The Hidden and even Count Yorga: Vampire. It also brought to mind the Slenderman video game, where the player is constantly pursued by a figure that gets closer to them as they look over their shoulder. Perhaps this is where the source of the scares come from, but I’d easily come back to It Follows just for the atmosphere and the music. This movie feels like an 70’s or 80’s film – the kind of movie you’d find tucked away on a low shelf in the back of a mom and pop video store.

It Follows deals with a girl named Jay (Maika Monroe), who finds herself in some serious danger. After sleeping with a guy, Jay is told she’s the recipient of some kind of curse (I can’t think of a better way to describe it, really). The creature can take any form to get close enough to kill her, but is limited in that it can only walk. The only way she can keep it from coming after her is to “pass it on” sexually to someone else. The concept sounds really simple, but it’s actually complex as story plays out. The bulk of the film is made up of Jay and her friends / family wondering what’s after her and where it’s at. The movie makes great use of the camera. Very slow zooms and pans, coupled with long stationary shots force the audience to constantly scan the horizon for threats. There’s even a slow 360 scene that helps paint a picture yet suggest that everyone involved is still kept on their toes regarding the Follower. I had.a number of moments where I either looked away or whispered “Oh crap, behind you!”. The film’s score, created by Rich Vreeland (a.k.a. Disasterpeace) fits so well with the movie, I wondered if he and Mitchell didn’t just pull an E.T. and write the music before the film. It’s a classic, creepy series of selections that feels similar to the Drive soundtrack, but is as strange as Mica Levi’s work on Under the Skin. The score, as of this writing, is available on iTunes. There’s one scene in particular that only uses two high pitched notes back and forth really well. The acting is pretty simple. Monroe is the stand out, playing the lead, but the supporting cast was neither here or there. I can’t say that I’d remember them, but I also can’t say they were bad at all. Is It Follows the scariest film of the year? I couldn’t really tell you. Half of the time, when announcements like that are made, everyone runs to the theatre and then they proclaim the movie did nothing for them. People are impressed by different things. If you are a fan of blood and gore, It Follows might not be for you. There’s very little. Are you looking to be unnerved? Perhaps the film will work better for audiences searching for that. Paranoia is the key to everything here, and It Follows serves it up in heaps on oversized platters. The idea of a slow moving entity that walks while you run has terrified me since Pepe Le Pew and Halloween. For me, it was effective. If audience reaction is any indication, the movie had moments, but not many. When the film ended, there were quiet murmurs yet no real applause (unlike The Raid 2, which had people howling & clapping). The most I can tell you is that I enjoyed it, and will probably revisit it on Friday to see how it holds up with a larger audience. I’ll definitely do the VOD when it appears.